SOCCER

FIFA’s drive to get approval in December for holding World Cups every two years stalled Wednesday, one day after its president met with fierce resistance from European soccer leaders.

Gianni Infantino instead announced FIFA would host a remote “global summit” on Dec. 20 to discuss the future of international soccer and “try to reach a consensus.”

That fell short of staging an extra congress of 211 member federations which could formally vote on the planned biennial World Cups for men and women in which Infantino has invested his and FIFA’s political capital.

“It is really important to listen to all the legitimate questions … and to see how we can adjust the proposals that have been made,” Infantino said at a news conference after chairing a meeting of FIFA’s ruling Council.

Infantino’s comment about exploring “what other kinds of events we can create” was a further hint that staging extra World Cups has not reached the broad agreement he aims for.

Sustained opposition from European soccer body UEFA – including threats to boycott future World Cups and veiled warnings by some of its members to leave FIFA – was joined last weekend by a rare IOC statement explicitly criticizing an Olympic sport.

The International Olympic Committee said FIFA was chasing extra revenue while crowding other sports from the sports calendar, promoting men’s soccer that would overshadow the women’s game and putting extra strain on athlete welfare.

MLS: Adam Buksa, Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou all scored after halftime to give New England a 3-2 win over D.C. United at Washington.

New England (21-4-6) extended its undefeated run to eight games, and notched its third straight victory over D.C. United (12-13-5) this season. With four matches remaining in the regular season, the Revolution are three points shy of tying the single-season points record of 72 set by LAFC in the 2019 season.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: A Manchester City supporter was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after being attacked following a Champions League match in Belgium, prosecutors said.

The East Flanders prosecutor’s office said the 63-year-old fan, who is Belgian, was attacked on Tuesday night by several individuals in a parking lot at a service station. Five suspects have been arrested after the incident, which took place after the Man City’s 5-1 win at Club Brugge. According to the investigation’s initial findings, the fan wore a Manchester City scarf. One of the suspects took it away from him inside the station shop and went outside.

“Subsequently, the victim came into confrontation with several suspects in the car park and ended up on the ground after a physical aggression,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

City said it was working with police in Belgium and Manchester to establish more information about the incident.

• Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winning goal capped a classic Manchester United comeback win.

Trailing 2-0 at halftime at home against Atalanta, United’s wild season under Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared ready to derail with last place in the group beckoning.

Ronaldo put the club back on top, 3-2, in the 81st minute after goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire to deliver a second straight come-from-behind win at Old Trafford in the competition.

• Bayern routed Benfica 4-0 with late goals, including one from Robert Lewandowski after standout saves by Manuel Neuer.

• It was an efficient 1-0 win for Juventus at Zenit St. Petersburg thanks to an 86th-minute goal by Dejan Kulusevski.

• Defending champion Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 win, against Malmo, but lost strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to injuries.

• Salzburg was the other group leader in action, beating Wolfsburg 3-1 with goals from the kind of young forwards the Austrian champion excels in nurturing then trading on.

Teenage Germany forward Karim Adeyemi scored early before 21-year-old Switzerland winger Noah Okafor scored twice in the second half.

• Barcelona finally got a win, 1-0 against Dynamo Kyiv, to end some unwanted historic streaks for the club and stay in contact in the group led by Bayern.

• Villarreal, which was beaten by Ronaldo’s stoppage-time winning goal three weeks ago, won 4-1 against Young Boys to lift the Europa League champion from last to second in the group.

• A 0-0 draw between Lille and Sevilla dragged down the average goals to three per game with 24 in total one day after a 35-goal rush in the eight games Tuesday.

LAZIO SUSPENDS EAGLE TRAINER: Lazio suspended eagle trainer Juan Bernabè after he was filmed making a fascist salute in front of fans. Bernabè has been the falconer and the trainer of Lazio’s eagle mascot Olympia since 2010.

A video, which went viral on social media, showed Bernabè holding Olympia and making the fascist salute while chanting “Duce, Duce” along with the Lazio fans after the team’s victory over Inter Milan on Saturday. “Duce” was the nickname for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

“Having learnt of the existence of the video which shows Juan Bernabè (not an employee of Lazio but a worker for an external company) behaving in a way that offends the club, the fans and the values to which the community aspires, action has been taken with the company for the immediate suspension of the person concerned from the service and for the possible termination of existing contracts,” Lazio said in a statement.

Lazio fans have had a troubled history of racism and fascism and the club has long tried to crack down on the problem. The club said in the statement that it had sent out a letter just last week to all its suppliers reminding them of the code of ethics.

BASEBALL

MAJORS: Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco has had surgery to remove a bone fragment from his pitching elbow and is projected to resume baseball activities this winter.

Carrasco, 34, was obtained by New York from Cleveland in January along with shortstop Francisco Lindor. His tore his right hamstring during spring training and didn’t make his season debut until July 30.

Carrasco went 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA in 12 starts.

HOCKEY

NHL: The Edmonton Oilers placed goalie Mike Smith on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.

The Oilers recalled goalie Stuart Skinner from the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League.

The 39-year-old Smith was hurt in the second period of Edmonton’s 6-5 home victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. He was replaced in net by Mikko Koskinen.

VOLLEYBALL

DOPING BAN: A Russian volleyball player who won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics has accepted a nine-month doping ban for a positive test which was apparently concealed eight years ago, the International Volleyball Federation said.

The FIVB said Dmitry Musersky signed a “case resolution agreement” accepting the ban and admitting he tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine at a Russian competition in 2013. Under the rules in force at the time, he could have faced a two-year ban. The ban is backdated from April and expires Jan. 4.

The case was part of a package of database files and samples obtained by the World Anti-Doping Agency from the Moscow anti-doping lab, where WADA found test results were often falsified or never entered the system.

Speaking to state news agency RIA Novosti, Musersky said his test result had been “hidden both from me and from WADA.” He said he had not knowingly taken any banned substance and said the “very small” amount of the drug could have entered his system through contaminated food.

TENNIS

KREMLIN CUP: Aryna Sabalenka played a match for the first time since reaching the U.S. Open semifinals and subsequently testing positive for the coronavirus, beating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals in Moscow.

The second-ranked Belarusian, who had a bye in the first round, had 10 aces but also made 30 unforced errors. Sabalenka had not played since her three-set loss to Leylah Fernandez in the U.S. Open semifinals. She was due to play in Indian Wells, California, but said she had tested positive for the coronavirus the day before play started.

Sabalenka will next play Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-1. Garbine Muguruza reached the quarterfinals by beating Tereza Martincova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. She will next face either Anett Kontaveit or Andrea Petkovic.

OLYMPICS

FLAME REACHES BEIJING: The Olympic flame arrived in Beijing amid calls from overseas critics for a boycott of the Feb. 4-20 Winter Games. Beijing’s Communist Party Secretary Cai Qi, the top official in the Chinese capital, received the flame at a closely-guarded airport ceremony.

Beijing successfully hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, although the event failed to produce the more open political and social environment in China that many had hoped for. Activist groups disrupted the flame lighting ceremony in southern Greece on Monday, accusing the International Olympic Committee of granting legitimacy to rights abuses in China. IOC officials have said they are committed to seeing the competition go ahead and that rights issues are not part of their remit.

AUTO RACING

INDYCAR: Christian Lundgaard will leave European racing and switch to IndyCar next season in a third seat for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The Danish driver is a member of the Alpine Formula One team’s junior program and made his IndyCar debut in August on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He qualified fourth, led two laps and finished 12th while battling food poisoning.

The 20-year-old was signed to a multiyear deal to drive the No. 30 Honda in a fulltime seat. He will be teammates with Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey, who was named last week as the driver for an expanded third RLL entry.


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